Every file that comes through the Financial Aid Department has to be reviewed for accuracy. When you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you are required to enter the data from your tax returns and other financial sources. If you estimate when you fill out your application, you are required to verify your information once you have filed your taxes. If you have made errors, you need to correct them. Once you have made the corrections and submitted it to the Central Processing System (CPS) we will receive updated application information.
2) What if I don't correct my application?
You and if a dependent student also your parents are responsible for correct FAFSA information. If you do not correct your application and you submit verification documentation to the Financial Aid Department, we will use your tax return and other documents to verify, and if necessary correct the errors. THIS TAKES TIME AND WILL DELAY YOUR APPLICATION. Once the corrections are transmitted and CPS has processed this information, they will send you an email informing you that corrections have been made to your FAFSA data as well as sending the corrected/updated application data to Southwestern College. THAT'S NOT THE END. Your application has to be re-reviewed by the financial aid technicians to verify that the new FAFSA data fully reflects the corrected data.
3) I received an email from the FAFSA processor saying that corrections have been made to my application, but I did not change anything. What does this mean?
We make corrections on your behalf based upon the verification documentation you present to our office, i.e., Dependent/Independent Verification Worksheet, Federal Tax Returns (w-2's, schedules, 1099's, etc), Asset Information Worksheet, Clarification of Low Income-Dependent/Independent, and any other written information submitted. We will correct your FAFSA to reflect the verified information. Any corrections sent to the CPS and returned to Southwestern College will be reviewed again for accuracy. If you change information on your FAFSA in response to the notice about a change to your FAFSA data, this could further delay your file. Our office will again have to make the corrections based upon your verification documents. If you receive a notice regarding a change to your FAFSA, please stop by our office first so we can see if we originated the change. THIS WILL SAVE TIME.
4) I called FAFSA and they said I was processed. Why aren't you giving me my money?
CPS processes your electronic or paper FAFSA application. This is just the application; it does not guarantee you are going to receive money! Once your application has been processed by CPS and received by Southwestern College, you will receive an email request for documents. It is your responsibility to submit all documents necessary to determine your eligibility for financial aid. Once all documents have been submitted, the Financial Aid Department will review your file and submit corrections if necessary. If eligible, you will receive a financial aid award notification. This will direct you to your online award letter indicating your financial aid awards.
5) FAFSA already has all my information, so why does the Financial Aid Department keep asking me for more documents?
The Financial Aid Department is required by federal law to ensure compliance with all regulations. We are required to make sure all information on the financial aid applications is accurate. When a financial aid technician reviews your file, they may be required to question information or ask for further clarification. This does not mean your information was incorrect. When you submit requested documentation or written statements to the office, your file will be reviewed and may elicit the need for further clarification or additional requests for documentation. You should ensure you submit complete documentation to prevent repeated visits to the Financial Aid Department. .
6) I never get anything in the mail from the Financial Aid Department. How am I supposed to know when I get my money?
The Financial Aid Department will do all communication via email. We will let you know what items you need to submit to complete your financial aid application, your eligibility, if eligible, and the approximate disbursement date of your financial aid. If you do not check your email, or you have a different email address on file with Southwestern College, you will never know what you need to do to complete your financial aid file or when you might receive financial aid funds. Also, make sure your email is not sending our correspondence to your SPAM file or automatically deleting our messages!
7) When do I apply for next semester's (spring) financial aid or BOGFW?
If you have already applied for your fall aid through FAFSA or completed the BOGFW application, your spring aid is a continuation of this process. You do not need a new application for the spring term. Financial aid is an annual application and follows an academic calendar, not your regular wall calendar.
8) My award letter stated that I was supposed to receive $5550, how come I only received $1388 this semester?
Your award letter will give you your annual award and term amounts. A $5550 Pell grant is a maximum eligible annual award for the 2011-12 academic year. This means you would receive $2775 per semester if you were enrolled full time for a maximum of two semesters. Pell Grant is prorated based on your enrollment status, if you received $1388 it means you were enrolled half-time for a specific term.
9) What do I need to do if I will be transferring to another school next semester?
You must add you new school onto your FAFSA application, otherwise, your new school will never receive your information. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. Generally, getting your financial aid file completed at most institutions takes a minimum of several months to process. Just because FAFSA has your new school listed on your application does not mean you have been awarded financial aid.
10) If I was already processed at another school this past semester, why is it going to take longer to receive my financial aid here?
Each college is responsible for determining the eligibility of every financial aid applicant based on both Federal and State regulations. The FAFSA is the tool we use to gather information to calculate your eligibility for financial aid. As mentioned in the above question, although you may now have added Southwestern College to your FAFSA application, your financial aid file is not complete until you have submitted all required documentation, after your file is complete, your file will be reviewed and corrected (if necessary). This process generally takes many months due to the growing number of financial aid applicants applying for aid at Southwestern College.
11) Do I need a high school diploma to receive financial aid?
According to regulations, a student must be qualified to study at the postsecondary level. A student qualifies if they have a high school diploma or a general education development or (GED) certificate or passed an approved ability to benefit test or has satisfactorily completed six units of college courses that are applicable to a degree or certificate offered by Southwestern College.
12) Do I need to be at 12 units to receive financial aid?
Not necessarily, financial aid is available for students enrolled in less than 12 units. Each financial aid program offered by Southwestern College has unique eligibility requirements, including enrollment status.
13) What if my financial situation changed from last year to this year, e.g., unemployment, etc?
If you or your parents (if you are a dependent student) financial situation has changed significantly, you should meet with a Financial Aid Specialist during their walk-in hours to review your financial situation.
14) What happens if I drop or fail a class after I already received my financial aid money?
If you withdraw from your courses after you have received financial aid, you may owe a refund to Southwestern College. Therefore, it is important to enroll in a manageable unit load that allows you to successfully complete all your courses.